Chinese plane crash that killed 132 people in March ‘was caused intentionally by someone in the cockpit’, data from the black boxes suggests

  • Boeing 737-800 from Kunming to Guangzhou crashed in Guangxi mountains
  • A blackbox was found after the China Eastern jet crashed killing 132 people
  • Data from it claims to show someone in the cockpit intentionally crashed the jet 

Flight data from a black box recovered from a Chinese plane crash earlier this year indicates someone in the cockpit intentionally crashed the jet, it’s been reported. 

The China Eastern Boeing 737-800 went into a sudden nosedive, appeared to briefly recover, and then slammed into the ground in the mountainous Guangxi area on March 21. 

Today, the Wall Street Journal cited U.S. officials’ preliminary assessment – who analysed both black boxes at a government lab in Washington, DC – which they say puts the finger at a person inside the most secure area of a plane. 

‘The plane did what it was told to do by someone in the cockpit,’ the source told the US newspaper. This could mean a murder-suicide by a pilot as the trajectory pointed downwards suddenly. 

The crew is being investigated after an investigation did not find any indication of a technical malfunction, a Western official told Reuters. 

While en route from Kunming to Guangzhou the Boeing 737-800 crashed killing 123 passengers and nine crew members – with total deaths at 132 – in mainland China’s deadliest aviation disaster in 28 years. 

It also prompted China Eastern to ground all its 737-800 Boeing planes – prompting fears about the aerospace company’s jets – which a month later the airline undid. 

China Eastern airlines and the US National Transportation Safety Board did not immediately respond to requests for comment

Flight data from a black box (one of those found) recovered from a Chinese plane crash earlier this year indicates someone in the cockpit intentionally crashed the jet, it's been reported

Flight data from a black box (one of those found) recovered from a Chinese plane crash earlier this year indicates someone in the cockpit intentionally crashed the jet, it’s been reported

The China Eastern Boeing 737-800 went into a sudden nosedive, appeared to briefly recover, and then slammed into the ground in the mountainous Guangxi area on March 21

The China Eastern Boeing 737-800 went into a sudden nosedive, appeared to briefly recover, and then slammed into the ground in the mountainous Guangxi area on March 21

A report issued in April by the Civil Aviation Administration of China said no abnormalities had been found in the plane, its crew or external elements such as bad weather.

Investigators were then still attempting to extract data from the heavily damaged black box flight data and voice recorders. 

At the time of the crash, the crew made no report of problems before losing contact with air traffic control. 

Pictures show that the crash left a 65-foot-deep crater in a mountainside, shattered the plane and set off a fire in the surrounding forest.

The crash left a 65-foot-deep crater in a mountainside, shattered the plane and set off a fire in the surrounding forest

The crash left a 65-foot-deep crater in a mountainside, shattered the plane and set off a fire in the surrounding forest

More than 49,000 pieces of plane debris were found. It took two days to find the cockpit voice recorder and six days for the flight data recorder, which was buried 5 feet underground

More than 49,000 pieces of plane debris were found. It took two days to find the cockpit voice recorder and six days for the flight data recorder, which was buried 5 feet underground

More than 49,000 pieces of plane debris were found. It took two days to find the cockpit voice recorder and six days for the flight data recorder, which was buried 5 feet underground.

China Eastern, one of four major Chinese airlines, and its subsidiaries grounded all their Boeing 737-800s, more than 200 planes, following the crash but have since returned them to service.

The airline said the grounding was a precaution, not a sign of any problem with the planes, which are among the most relied upon by airlines worldwide. 

From mid-April it had resumed use of the 737-800 planes and Chinese regulators did not point to any technical recommendations on the 737-800, which has been in service since 1997 with a strong safety record, according to experts. 

Boeing, the maker of the jet, declined to comment and referred Reuters to the Chinese investigators while the US National Transportation Safety Board did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

China Eastern said: ‘Any unofficial speculation may interfere with the accident investigation and affect the real progress of the global air transport industry.’

Reuters reported that shares of Boeing were up 5.1% in afternoon trade. 

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